Sunday, February 17, 2013

Imperial Benefits

Suppose a burglar comes into your house, steals the TV and your laptop, but then, unaccountably also does the dishes and vacuums the carpet. You probably won't be grateful, even though that isn't quite as bad as breaking the dishes and torching the carpet.

"Benign" colonialism, of the type the British eventually pretended to practice and sometimes actually did, is like the burglar moving into your house, regularly stealing your cash and eating your food but incidentally doing the dishes and vacuuming the carpet, sometimes also keeping out other burglars in the process.